General excise tax hike mulled as county drains fund balance

Target team member Jen Burns rings up a transaction for Kim and Cole Clark Friday at the Kona store. The county is considering a general excise tax hike, which would affect consumers. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

The current year’s general fund budget. (Hawaii County Finance Department

HILO — Mayor Harry Kim on Friday sent the County Council a bill to raise the general excise tax by one-half percent to balance next year’s budget, while telling a state legislative panel the county exhausted its fund balance to pay for this year.